It was not the first kiss Kotetsu had shared with Barnaby.

In fact, they had had countless before, most of them being quick and yet sweet pecks on each others' lips as their busy job usually left them with little free time. So exchanging small kisses before slipping into their suits or when they thought nobody was paying them any special attention were a common thing for the two.
Kotetsu had come to make a game out of it, making a mental stroke on a chalkboard for each and every quick kiss they had, vowing to himself he would propose to Barnaby once they had reached the mark of a thousand. Just a few months later he upped that goal to a million, just because he was a bit short on money at the time and could not quite afford a ring that would suit Barnaby's tastes yet.

There also were lots of passionate kisses and as the two of them were still healthy, vigorous men, not rarely would such intimacies lead to many others.
Kotetsu was not exclusively into men - something Barnaby claimed was also not the case for him, yet he was never heard complimenting any woman, for that matter - but he found he had little difficulty to feel attraction to a partner who not only had a nice body but whom he also had been through so much with.

The decision of who would get to play the active part in their physical encounters always was a rather random matter, depending on a lot of different factors, some of which the two weren't even aware of.

Sometimes they would playfully wrestle, each of them trying to outsmart the other by trying different tactics, feinting moves or simply pushing them to the floor with brute force.
Other times, the first one to exclaim 'top' got to top, as simple as that. But those usually were rare, as they both liked their foreplay when they actually had the time for it and figuring out who took which role was a major part of that.

And yet other times, it just worked out like that. They started kissing, stripped each other and by the time they had reached the bed or any other location sufficient for their needs, someone would play submissive. Be it by an outrageous display of willingness to be taken or rather subtle hints, it certainly didn't matter.

All of those were rather nice ways to have their mouths connect and, under some circumstances, a very efficient way to shut Barnaby up when he was being especially petulant, but they were not Kotetsu's most favorite kisses.

He, being an eternal romantic, of course adored those of chaste and sweet nature. Sadly, those also were the kind of kisses he managed to get the fewest from his rabbit, but that made them all the more special so.

It usually started when they were spending the night on his couch watching TV, enjoying a calm evening after a long tedious day at work.
Barnaby's place wasn't much of an option if they wanted to do anything else besides hopping straight into bed, given how little furniture that seated more than one the man owned.
The couch at Kotetsu's easily had enough space for a handful of people, but that wouldn't keep the two men from cuddling up right next to each other, someone's head quickly finding their way onto the other's shoulder.

Barnaby had been cautious with such close contact during the beginning of their relationship, rarely initiating a touch and if so, being very tentative in the process - letting his fingers linger on the same spot of his partner's skin persistently, as if he was afraid it was just a good dream in the endless disaster that was his life after all and he wanted to savor it for as long as possible.

So there they would be, enjoying each other's company and body warmth and it usually wasn't too long until Kotetsu would start shifting his head from whatever position it had been in to bury his nose in Barnaby's hair instead. Somehow, he could never quite resist its softness up close.
If the news were running, that kind of action elicited a distraught huff from the blond, sometimes followed by a murmured "later". If they were not, and Kotetsu generally made sure to switch channels as soon as the serious reporting was done and the gossiping started, he seemed to be a lot keener for a possible distraction. Perhaps it was because Kotetsu had a habit of watching action movies after hearing the news, just the kind of cinematic work Barnaby deemed the most stupid and useless when everything was just so obviously faked and certainly not possible in reality.

Therefore, Barnaby seldom protested the finger that would soon after slide under his chin, tilting his head sidewards just so slightly. Nor would he refuse Kotetsu's lips when they pressed against his, soft and loving and making every last hair on his body tingle with excitement, because this kind of kiss just never seemed to grow dull.

The kiss they shared this night was very new to Kotetsu, though.

For one, Barnaby, for all his occasional coyness when it came to expressing emotions, was acting very hesitant during this one. He did kiss Kotetsu back, but he seemed almost unsure of himself, as if he had never done this before and was just now learning how to actually do it.

Added to that came the fact their kiss was wet. Not because of them having been making out rather intensely, but because Barnaby had been crying. Still was, Kotetsu noticed, when he stuck his tongue out to taste a salty drop that had slid down to his partner's lips.

Recapping the events of the evening, he wasn't quite sure why that was the case, however. He just prayed it wasn't his fault.

Having been forced to take a day off and with nothing entertaining to do at home, Barnaby had decided to waste the day away at his place. When Kotetsu had come back at late evening after having finished the for what he hoped was the last mission of the day, he found his boyfriend sitting on the couch, the newscaster on the television screen babbling away about the day's events. Nothing unusual, except for the slight hunch in Barnaby's posture and the little quivers that shook his shoulders. And, of course, the tears on his face.

He had hoped he might be able to comfort the younger man with a hug and a kiss, but apparently that didn't have the desired effect.
Kotetsu broke their contact and leaned up instead, pressing his lips to his partner's wet cheek.

"I suppose asking if 'everything is alright' is kinda out of place here, isn't it..?"

There was a quiet snort from Barnaby, before he shook his head and put his hands on Kotetsu's shoulders, pushing him away a few inches.

"I'm fine," was his reply and there was a certain undertone to his voice that Kotetsu couldn't quite place. Barnaby was not telling him a lie, but it definitely wasn't the whole truth either.

"You want to.. uh, talk?" At least he could try to be diplomatic about it. That hadn't worked very well with them in the past, but that could always change, maybe right there and then.

"Are you hard of hearing? I said I'm fine." Or perhaps not.

Kotetsu watched Barnaby with a slight frown as the latter got off the couch and made his way to the kitchen, his hands rubbing over his face in the meanwhile.

"Have you eaten yet?" Barnaby spoke up again, his voice quickly leveling. "If you're still hungry, I can make us something. Fried rice, if you want."

Kotetsu decided to not answer and instead just watch the other man, apparently rather brooding over the mystery that he had been presented with than caring about food.
Barnaby turned back to return the gaze for a moment, but shook his head to himself before long and resumed busying himself with the cooking. Being confronted with an exceptionally mute Kotetsu quickly unnerved him, however, and he found himself talking before he could stop it.

"I wasn't sure when you'd be home and I thought it better to prepare a meal when you get back instead of having to warm one."

Barnaby threw a glance over his shoulder and he caught his partner's eyes, which followed his every movement.

"That does come with the disadvantage of you having to wait for your supper, but since I put up with this for you, you might as well wait."

Kotetsu didn't respond to that either and cocked his head to the side.

"Say, Bunny. Did you watch HeroTV today?"

The blond perked an eyebrow, but nodded still.
Kotetsu's expression softened almost immediately and he looked like he might just follow into the kitchen to hug his partner tightly, but decided otherwise in the last second.
Instead, he just grinned.

"So that's where you're coming from. Bet I scared you to no ends when that building collapsed on top of me, huh?"

Barnaby raised another eyebrow.

"The view the helicopter got of the scene was quite good, actually. From above, the hole you had smashed into the ceiling was clearly visible."

At that, Kotetsu jumped up, clearly upset at the flat dismissal.

"Eh!? So all that waiting for the right moment to rise from the rubble was for nothing?"

"I thought you were the one who cared more about rescuing people than scoring points or getting to pose."

"Well.. I wouldn't have done that if I hadn't known no one else was in danger anymore."

Barnaby chuckled lightly. "Suits you."

"So, if you didn't cry at my horrible death of being smothered by concrete, what was it for?"

"Kotetsu-san, they air HeroTV live and the incident with that building happened this afternoon. I wouldn't be crying about that now of all times."

"Don't change the subject, Bunny."

A hint of a blush appeared on the blond's cheeks. "It's nothing, really."

"But it makes me worry about you."

Barnaby stirred the rice in the pan, purposely keeping his back to Kotetsu.

"Please just trust me with this one."

There it was, that one word that seemed to be echoing itself through all of their partnership. Kotetsu wasn't sure if the other man had used it on purpose, but it sure as hell did its work.

"Of course, partner."

He smiled to himself and by the fact that Barnaby said nothing else, no snarky remark or any other kind of comment, Kotetsu knew he was as well.

It was not until Barnaby had finished frying the rice and was taking two plates to the couch that Kotetsu noticed the empty video envelope that was lying on the shelf next to the television. "Say, Bunny..."

An exasperated, but humoring sigh nonetheless followed. "Yes, Kotetsu-san?"

"Could it be you cried after watching that movie?"

The plates with the fried rice clattered to the floor and broke into shards, spilling the food messily across the carpet.
But Kotetsu couldn't care less about it when he burst into laughter, Barnaby shooting death glares at him while trying very very hard not to cry from embarrassment this time.

"I ssertainly did NOT cry from watching Sstar Warss!"

a.n.: Why Star Wars? It has sci-fi elements, robots, dead parents and at least one guy going on about revenge. Barnaby just has to love this. Besides, it had so many 's', it just seemed like destiny. (While we're at it: That scene in Episode I when Qui-Gon is dying with Obi-Wan holding him, what does that remind you of?)

Proofread by Minto. Thanks, dear.